07 Feb Inigo Montoya Got It Wrong
Inigo Montoya Got It Wrong
Feb. 7, 2020
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I like Inigo Montoya.
I admire Inigo Montoya.
I’ve even spent time pretending to be Inigo Montoya.
But the truth is: he got it wrong.
Don’t know Mr. Montoya?
I’ll let him introduce himself.
As a child, the six-fingered man refused to pay for a sword crafted by Inigo’s father, so his father didn’t relinquish the sword. He gave it to Inigo instead.
In a rage, the six-fingered man killed the father and left scars on Inigo’s 11-year-old face.
From that moment on, Inigo planned his revenge and rehearsed what he would say when he finally got face-to-face with his father’s murderer.
Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…
On one hand, revenge has some positives.
The anger that comes with revenge can be powerful. Nothing fuels like hateful revenge. That hate-fuel can give a person to unrelenting motivation and that motivation can lead to great skill acquisition.
Most people quit what they start. Revenge has a way of keeping you going.
Also, revenge can end with justice as the result. Few things feel better than sweet justice.
Listening to Inigo, we want him to get his revenge. It’s the right outcome.
And — spoiler alert! — when the six-fingered man does get his comeuppance, we don’t feel bad for a second. He deserved it. We only feel happy for Inigo.
The world can feel more right, more balanced, if revenge is successfully carried out.
But revenge comes with big consequences.
For one, what happens after revenge is taken?
As Inigo himself says, “You know, it’s very strange. I’ve been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.”
Living with revenge has far-reaching downsides. The person who wronged you hurt you in that one moment. That’s awful.
And then, by committing your life to revenge, that person then sucks away all those subsequent months and/or years. All the time preparing for revenge could’ve been spent being happy. Revenge takes one painful moment and drags the hurt out indefinitely.
Further, what if you don’t actually get revenge? What if the other person wins again? Then you have an injury, years of pain, another injury, and indefinite pain after that.
The best way to deal with revenge is not to.
The hard reality is that dignifying the attack on you only makes the other person stronger. Slapping someone who slapped you only makes slapping the way of the world. It keeps the evildoing alive.
If we lie to get a promotion over a liar, lying wins. If we print out the comments and then attack an internet troll, trolling wins.
Revenge doesn’t stop the wrongdoing, it prolongs it.
If you want to stop the bad person, befriend him. No one changes another’s mind through force, only friendship. We’ll listen to and reform ourselves for a friend, not because Inigo’s steel is at our throat.
Don Corleone once said, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
He was wrong, too.
If you want to heal yourself and change the world, revenge is a dish best served not at all.
My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.